Elon Musk’s home state of Texas will host what is being described as the world’s first Tesla Solar neighbourhood, as well as America’s most sustainable residential community: a development of newly built homes that will feature Tesla Solar Roof Tiles and Powerwall battery storage systems.
The initiative, a joint venture between Tesla Energy, Brookfield Asset Management and real estate company Dacra, will install Tesla’s V3 solar roof tiles and Powerwall 2 battery systems as part of Brookfield Residential’s Easton Park community in Austin.
The Tesla-powered homes, which will also feature energy efficient appliances and electric vehicle charging stations, will be limited to the provisionally named SunHouse community, which will be designed and marketed separately to the rest of the Easton Park development.
In addition, the three companies have pledged to work together over the coming 12 months to incorporate additional transportation, technology and energy solutions to create a “new paradigm” for residential community development.
“It is anticipated that residents of these homes will produce sufficient energy to supply daily needs and reduce the daily demand on the electric grid,” statement from the companies said.
“Residents will be provided with back-up storage in the event of a power outage, and potentially could be compensated for returning power to the energy grid.”
The SunHouse community marks a much-needed win for Tesla’s Solar Roof, after the company up-to doubled the installed price of the troubled integrated glass tiles, including for customers who had already signed off on quotes before the price hike.
In an investor call following Tesla’s quarterly earnings report in April, CEO Musk conceded that his company had made “some significant mistakes” in the rollout of its Solar Roof, with delivery “choked at the installation point.”
“We did find that we basically made some significant mistakes in assessing the difficulty of certain roofs,” Musk said in response to a question around the pricing issue.
“But the complexity of roofs varies dramatically,” he added. “Some roofs can be literally two or three times easier than other roofs. So, you just can’t have a one size fits all situation.”
Unless, of course, you sign up to provide the solar roofs of a new housing development – along with a bunch of Powerwalls, in keeping with the company’s recent decree that it will now only sell solar systems with a battery included.
“This is extremely important for scalability,” Musk said of the solar-plus-battery rule at the time. “It’s the only way to do it. And this also means that with every solar power installation, that the house … will be its own utility. And so even if all the lights go out in the neighbourhood, you will still have power. So that that gives people energy security.
“So, effectively, the Powerwalls can operate as a giant distributed utility. This is profound. I’m not sure how many people actually understand this. This is really profound and necessary.”
In comments last week, Musk said the Brookfield solar installations across all housing types would reshape how people lived.
“Brookfield and Dacra’s commitment to stay at the vanguard of that evolution is what makes them the right collaborator for Tesla Energy,” he said, adding that community feedback on Tesla products would shape how the company developed and launched new products in the future.
“This initiative brings together multiple parts of our organisation with innovative and forward-thinking partners that share a commitment to advance the development of sustainable communities,” said Brian Kingston, CEO of Brookfield’s Real Estate business.
“As consumers increasingly seek out energy security alongside sustainable places to live, combining Tesla’s solar technology together with Brookfield’s real estate and renewables development capabilities will help us meet demand for environmentally responsible communities of the future,” Kingston said.
“Our goal is to establish that fully-sustainable neighborhoods are not only viable, but the best practical and economical choice,” said Craig Robins, CEO of Dacra. “Together with Brookfield and Tesla, we are trying to change the world by creating technology-driven, energy independent communities that make the world a better place.”